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Tighter 'Made in Germany' rules criticised

Published: 16 Jan 2012 10:55 GMT+01:00

Until now, the deciding factor in where a product can be labelled as coming from has been where the last process in production is carried out.

But the European Commission plans to limit claims of origin to products of which at least 45 percent of the value was created in Germany, Die Welt newspaper reported on Monday.

Current rules mean that products can be labelled as “Made in Germany” even if more than 90 percent of the work in making them takes place in other countries.

Industries such as car manufacture, electronics and machinery construction would be most affected by the planned rule changes, the paper said.

“The planned changes would put the label “Made in Germany” in danger,” Hans Heinrich Driftmann, president of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), told Die Welt.

“If in the future, the origin and value of the base materials are decisive, many products will no longer be seen as German,” he said.

This would cause immense damage to the German economy and would remove important information for consumers, he said.

“The label “Made in Germany” stands world wide for quality, and boosts German exports,” said Driftmann.

“The current rules on origin are unbureaucratic and internationally recognised – plans to change them should disappear back into a drawer. The Commission should keep its promise to reduce bureaucracy and to support mid-sized companies with internationalisation.”

Die Welt said that Algirdas Semeta, European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, audit and Anti-Fraud, drew up plans to change the rules after the European Courts of Justice ruled in favour of a German company importing rope from China.

The firm had argued it should not pay punitive tariffs on steel rope it was importing from North Korea as the material was from China, where punitive tariffs would not apply, and was only assembled in North Korea, the paper said.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

11:48 January 16, 2012 by twisted
If the industry (any industry) is against it, it must be a good idea. Actually, 51% should be required, not 45%. And even then, the label should so state. The consumer is too often mislead by labels which are more fabrications than truths. More strength to the consumer should be required on all products.
13:09 January 16, 2012 by raandy
"Made in Germany" to most people means engineered and put together by Germans in Germany.

Engineered in Germany without "Made in Germany" would seem reasonable if 90% was assembled elsewhere.
13:48 January 16, 2012 by jg.
It is plainly dishonest to label anything as "Made in Germany" when it is mostly made elsewhere. Perhaps companies wishing to label their products as "Made in Germany" should also be required to indicate the proportion of German manufacture e.g. "50% Made in Germany" or "10% Made in Germany". Obviously, companies would only have a problem with this if it is their intention to deceive their customers by using misleading labelling.
14:25 January 16, 2012 by Dizz
Bet the business guys will win. Any takers?
16:52 January 16, 2012 by The Man
If an item has a label saying 'made in germany' it seems to me that it matters not how much of it was made elsewhere, because the label means that the company is underwriting or guaranteeing its quality. Which is what the world expects of German products.

Trust the EU commission to meddle with things to make it all more difficult for everyone. I suppose that they have to keep on meddling or there would be no reason for their existence.
17:20 January 16, 2012 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I don't see this as a problem at all. I see this as a huge win. Maybe now the innate quality of german engineering and workmanship will get a chance to shine again.
18:52 January 16, 2012 by cheeba
One would think this would be a matter for the Bundestag to decide. I could understand Brussels being involved if the question was the "made in EU" label but what does this have to do with them?
21:27 January 16, 2012 by wood artist
While I understand the perceived value in being able to label something as "Made in ****" the fact is that very little that we buy anymore is actually "made" in any one country. Most automobiles, to take an example, have parts made all over the world, and that is only going to become more accurate as the impact of global economics increases. Probably the only easy exception to this idea might be food, and even that probably has "fertilizers from other countries, insecticides from other countries, and other additives from other countries" in any true label.

The traditional labels might need to be changed to say "Assembled in Germany" (or wherever) and possibly "Designed in Germany." Personally I generally have some respect for items manufactured by German companies, even though some of them aren't really "owned" by Germans any more.

wa
22:00 January 16, 2012 by reallybigdog
Its more about the quality of the materials used and the level of tolerances they are manufactured too that really matters. As long as the Germans continue to control materials used and insure they are manufactured to their exact tolerances combined with unparallelled quality control than the actual machining, molding etc can take place anywhere in the world.

The issue with most crap today is that its just made from cheap poor grade materials that lack any quality fit and finish.
06:03 January 17, 2012 by Stuttgartborn
My VW Jetta TDI was assembled in Puebla, Mexico and the assembly quality is outstanding. German engineering is plainly evident throughout...that being the lack of of cheap gimmicks, useless knobs, electronic gizmos, and other useless gadgets designed for nothing more than wow factor for the average American 22 year old that is standard fare in the typical Japanese or Korean car.

When it comes to automobiles, there is simply no substitute for "German Engineered", no matter the country of final assembly.
12:41 January 17, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ cheeba

It is about EU regulations regarding geographical indications. So it is not only about "Made in Germany", but also "Made in France", "Made in Bulgaria" and so on.
00:44 January 18, 2012 by brnskin2010
If it's made in germany then label the product where it's made....if it's made partly some where els and germany .....give credit to that country....fair is fair.....I buy made in germany products because of quality......you don't have to deceive the public if the company is providing quality instead of quantity......
10:08 January 19, 2012 by Englishted
The mark "made in Germany" stood for quality in all departments from design to final assembly ,I don't see a problem with 45% but who said it was 90% before.

Being a bit of a cynic I agree with some comments who think if big business want it or opposite (whichever the case may be ) the I tend to take the opposite line.

One point why Germany not Deutschland ,and is there no German translation for made in?
23:51 January 19, 2012 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
@Englishted

It's "Made in Germany" because it was an English idea to make sure people knew the product was foreign:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Made_in_Germany

It, of course, backfired monumentally.
23:12 January 20, 2012 by Englishted
@Der Grenadier aus Aachen

Thank you ,now I know.
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